CMAT – ‘CrazyMad, For Me’ Review: hilariously cutting break-up pop at its best

On her second album, CMAT has honed her witty writing to create one of the year's best pop albums – with a little country flair sprinkled on top.


CMAT’s songwriting can go from wickedly funny, to piercing you right to the core in a matter of seconds. Take ‘Have Fun!’, the closer of her second album ‘Crazymad, For Me’, a track that reflects on a relationship post-breakup, when you’re beginning to move on and can’t help ruminating about all the things your ex did wrong. “Five hundrеd and ten quid before bills out my pursе/Dublin back then was cheap, but it’s never been worse”, Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson – who uses the popstar moniker CMAT – sings honestly on the second verse, her distinct, powerhouse vocals supported by spry fiddle riffs and jaunty piano. “I gave you all I had ’cause I believed in nests”, she continues regretfully, effortlessly verbalising the mess of emotions that appear in times like these. But then, she twists the knife and gets straight to the point: “Huh, silly bitch, woo, you shoulda spent it on yourself”. While the Irish artist’s own-brand of country can devastate, there’s always humour there too.

This is key throughout her second album ‘CrazyMad, For Me’. A loose concept album, across its 12 tracks it tells the elaborate story of an alternate CMAT who, aged 47, builds a time machine so that she can go back and stop her younger self embarking on a disastrous relationship. Through this prism CMAT explores her own painful memories of a long-term relationship that ended when she was 23. As she’s explained, the album is a breakup record: “about what happens when you are still angry about something that happened 10 years ago.”

These stories are told through a lush palette. CMAT has quipped that she wanted to make: “‘Bat Out Of Hell’ but for the girls”, an ambition evident in the grandiose sonics. Though rooted in country, there’s elements of soaring pure pop, powerhouse choral moments (that are somewhere between Self Esteem’s ‘Prioritise Pleasure’ and glam-rock belters), swooning strings that up the drama, and fidgety indie rock.


The “majestic” ‘Where Are Your Kids Tonight’ (CMAT fan Robbie Williams’ words, not ours!) is an indie-pop belter. A collaboration with John Grant, the duet sees their vocals coil and unfurl, gorgeous harmonies soaring across the instrumentals. Meanwhile, on ‘Stay for Something’ there’s elements of The Killers’ widescreen Americana. And there’s quieter moments too, like the Kacey Musgraves evoking instrumentals on ‘Rent’. The subtle accompaniment putting the painful lyrical realisations to the forefront. On it, CMAT reveals: “I found lashes on the DVD case, you said they were mine”, following up with the brutal outcome that lays the harsh realities of this partnership bare: “never my style but / I didn’t wanna get on your wrong side”.

On this record’s predecessor, 2022’s acclaimed ‘If My Wife New I’d Be Dead’, CMAT charmed fans with her pithy lyricism and sleek songwriting. Here, she ups the ante, her sheer skill and impressive creative vision apparent. It might just be one of the best pop records of the year.

Buy CMAT – ‘CrazyMad For Me’ on Vinyl for £24.69
CMAT – 'CrazyMad, For Me’
cmat-crazymad-for-me-album-reviewReleased October 13 2023